Archive for June, 2009

WeeWorld Nominated for TechCrunch Award

Congrats to our client WeeWorld on making it through the first selection round of The Europas, TechCrunch’s technology innovation awards for European tech companies! WeeWorld is included in the “Best Entertainment Application or Service” category.

Public voting is now open – if you are a fellow WeeWorld lover and want to show your support, you can vote here.

If you’d like to be one of the first to know if WeeWorld makes the cut as one of the five finalists, get your ticket to the The Europas Awards.

— Posted by Erica Camilo

Latest trends in B2B marketing

MarketingSherpa has just released its 2009-2010 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report. You can download the 9-page excerpt for free or purchase the entire 200+ page report for $447.

Though I’m not convinced the full report is worth its hefty price tag, there are a few good tidbits of information:

  • The majority of B2B marketers are optimistic that the economy will recover in the remainder of the year
  • B2B is ahead of B2C when it comes to adopting social media strategies and tools, including social networks and company blogging
  • While B2B marketers plan on increasing investments in programs like webcasts, search, website improvements and social media, they are majorly decreasing spend in other areas, especially tradeshows/face-to-face events and traditional advertising
  • There is still a noticeable breakdown in the marketing-to-sales process – the majority of B2B marketers do not have a process for nurturing leads that aren’t sales-ready, do not have closed-loop tracking from source to conversion, and do not have a process for handing leads back to marketing
  • When it comes to a company’s website, B2B marketers struggle most with clear and compelling messaging, efficient/regular updates and optimizing the site for search

The full report contains more detailed info breakdown of marketing budgets by program, industry and company size; average leads generate by program investment; outsourcing key marketing functions; effectiveness of different email tactics; analysis of PR effectiveness; case studies; and more.

— Posted by Melissa Coyle

Corporate Uses of Social Media

While some companies are still trying to figure out how to involve their brand or company in the social media landscape, others have a large amount of resources dedicated solely to this vehicle. One such company, Southwest Airlines, is using Twitter to alert travelers of flight delays and last minute availability on flights.

Not only are corporations using social media tools to promote their brand and events and stay top of mind, but many are also using it as a means of managing customer service. Companies such as Zappos, Comcast and HR Block cite scalability and ease of management as huge advantages for using this medium (http://www.thestandard.com/news/2008/12/08/southwest-airlines-uses-twitter-alert-flyers-bad-weather). Using one porthole keeps customer complaints under control – they can be responded to quickly and directly, and companies can even mitigate complaints by communication with consumers proactively.

Companies that use social media platforms as part of their customer service efforts often don’t sit back and wait to be directly contacted. They use alerts to monitor conversations surrounding their brand, and often will respond to negative comments through customer service identities in an attempt to keep customers happy.  Some companies, such as Trip Advisor , do this by posting responses to negative customer reviews, while other companies are using services such as Dialogix to monitor social media conversation and sediment and aggregate the information to keep track of key influencers.

While many larger companies have seemed to “master” the use of social media, others are still left wondering how they can leverage this growing medium.  The recent Permission TV video seminar on “Building an Audience in the Digital Age” and Scott Kirsner’s recent book, “Fans, Friends & Followers” provide a few great tips to bear in mind:

  • You don’t have to leverage every social media vehicle; find one that helps you best connect with your audience.
  • Build a presence and use it to engage followers, customers, etc. with special promotions – and don’t forget to ask for feedback.
  • Find the right voice for your social media efforts; a passionate employee is best in this role, not necessarily the most senior.
  • Keep it up! Starting to use a social media site and then dropping the ball does nothing for brand image.

Good luck in your social media involvement and branding efforts, and until next time, keep tweeting!

— Posted by Danielle Millerick

Advertising Signs of the Times?

It’s no secret that the economic climate of the past 10 months or so has wreaked havoc on some of the world’s most well-known brands. Car companies are filing for bankruptcy, banks are losing their minds, retailers are consolidating or downright closing shop, and restaurants are offering deal menus out the wazoo.

Here’s a look at how some brand marketers are, in one way or another, taking advantage of the recession to prove that less is more to stay afloat in these tough times. Some ads are funny, some are touching and some are outright ridiculous. So ridiculous I couldn’t event include them (i.e., a Victoria’s Secret ad about how less clothing is one good benefit from the down economy…come on!).

Allstate “Back to Basics”

Cap Gemini Ernst & Young “Depressed Economy”

Domino’s “Bailout”

Dunkin’ Donuts “Belt”

Etrade “The Economy”

GM “Reinvention”

iPhone Magic Wallet App

Target “Brand New Day”

— Posted by Melissa Coyle

60 Seconds or Less

Breaking down hot topics in social media, marketing and PR (and this week, sports) for your reading pleasure….

Man on Fire I. – St. Louis Cardinal Manager Tony LaRussa, once one of the most highly regarded – and winningest – skippers in the game, continues to lose my respect. LaRussa is suing twitter because someone created a fake account and in so doing, used his name to make fun of two of his former players who sadly, had died from alcohol and drug related issues in recent years. Teflon Tony said the fake web pages created caused him “undue stress” and damaged his reputation. No, turning a blind eye to steroid use on his teams and getting busted for his own DWI did plenty to hurt his once lofty perception. This is one that Tony will likely not win.

Social Media Mania – I spent a late afternoon at Barnes and Noble while in New York earlier this week to grab a Wi-Fi connection when my hotel web connection was down. B&N, and presumably every other bookstore chain, is loaded (maybe overloaded) with new books on social media – titles from Paul Gillin, David Meerman Scott, Joel Postman, Al Ries, etc. I am sure most have plenty of good insight and tips, but you’d need a month or at least a month of Sundays to get through them all. And, I have not even finished Groundswell yet. I think they all fall into the book “snacking” category – pick em up when you need a little boost.

Man on Fire II. – Speaking of MLB managers, New York Met head man Jerry Manuel (is he as clueless as he appears to be on TV?) needs media training and in a Big away. Manuel pre-announced the fact that set up man J.J. Putz was losing his spot in the pen in a New York Post story before he told his hurting reliever. His mind numbing quote was, “I’m going to have that conversation [today]. If I tell you now, then that’ll get me in trouble.” Manuel would be wise to take some cues from Terry Francona, the master at player and then media relations, in that order.

Social Media Yesterday- 60 percent of folks who sign up for twitter do not return after the first month, say Social Media Today and Nielsen.  Can it be they are lazy, have A.D.D? Are they onto the next thing?

Innovation Nation – This Innovation Blog on BusinesssWeek.com Rocks – http://images.businessweek.com/ss/09/04/0415_how_to_innovate/index.htm

No Rest For the Weary Work For the Rested – When exactly did Americans become obsessed with “checking in with work from vacation?” Vineet Nayar, the highly respected CEO of HCL Technologies (BluePoint Client) told a crowd of customers, prospects, media and other influencers at an event earlier this week at New York’s Harvard Club that he just returned from a 15 day holiday and continued his standard practice of no calls from anyone – board members, share holders, customers and his 55,000 employees. That is the sign of a great manager who trusts his team. Oh, and he doesn’t do email while on holiday, either.

Tech Tales from the Big City – think texting is just for teens? I was having lunch when I noticed a group of five folks who were at least 50. All were lunching and texting, presumably to people outside their group. I thought ignoring your friends and families when you are out in public with them was just for kids. And oh by the way, EVERYONE walking around NYC had a Blackberry, iPhone, Windows Smart Phone or Sidekick Device. I need to open up a solar charging salon, replete with $6 lattes, CNBC on the tube, massage tables, cigar humidor and wine bar.

— Posted by Tim Hurley

Innovate, Communicate, Collaborate… Don’t Hibernate

Scott Kirsner would make a heckuva marketer or PR person (or history teacher too but that is another matter) if he ever gives up his current gig as a freelance journalist and writer.  For the past several years – both before he relocated to California and upon his return to Boston – he has written blogged and spoken passionately about two things, among many others:

1)      the role the Boston area has played in serving as the “minor leagues” to Silicon Valley by cultivating and growing young talent as well as great small and medium sized technology and Internet companies only to see them get gobbled up by the Big Boys from Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, San Jose, etc.

2)      and the need for New England, Boston and more specifically, Route 128’s academic, technology and venture capital communities to dig deep to try to restore some of the luster we’ve lost to Silicon Valley and other tech hot spots over the years.

Scott’s latest big idea was offered up in his most recent Sunday Boston Globe Innovation Economy column in which he designates June as Innovation Month in New England.  He writes, “We can do a better job of connecting executives who’ve built big, influential businesses with entrepreneurs who are just starting out. We can do a better job helping shaky start-ups find the funding they need to succeed. We can do a better job ensuring that every student who comes to New England to earn a degree has at least some exposure to some of the innovative companies based here, whether through an internship, a company visit, or a classroom presentation from the founder.”

Scott is onto something and he is starting with some really attainable goals. He’s passionately encouraging people to start small – converse, connect, communicate and collaborate.  He’s pushing events, conferences and tweetups as the vehicles for driving more innovation, more idea sharing and more energy around innovation. He is also encouraging people to post their ideas (or links to innovation-related initiatives more people should know about) on the Innovation Economy blog at www.innoeco.com/neinno.

As Massachusetts entrepreneurs, business owners, investors, residents, etc. we all have a vested interest in fostering more innovation. Enough with the complacency fear and uncertainty that goes with the current down economy. As Scott and others quoted in that column, get out, get over the “depressions” and do your part to improve our chances at recovery.  Let’s just keep this party going into July, the rest of the summer and the rest of the year.

— Posted by Tim Hurley


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